New partnership takes environmental education back to its roots

Summer camps are back at Ken Reid Conservation Area with an exciting new partnership with At Last Forest School.

“We are thrilled to open an At Last Forest School in the Ken Reid Conservation Area in Lindsay,” said owner and operator Carlin Val. “We have formalized our partnership with Kawartha Conservation to utilize the incredible space of the Ken Reid Conservation Area. This location is a perfect place to run our forestry school programs and we are thrilled to bring this opportunity to Kawartha Lakes.

Val and his wife Debbie have a great passion for the outdoors. After meeting at a college of teachers specializing in environmental science and experiential education, they soon realized that the formal education industry was not for them.

They opened their first school in 2016, enrolling their own children so they could spend their days with friends while experiencing their parents’ joy and passion for the outdoors.

To their delight, the forest school proved to be an indispensable alternative and it quickly gained popularity. When the couple opened the doors to their first “classroom” in September 2016, their goal of 12 students was not only met but exceeded, eventually welcoming 50 students. Their first school turned into an eight in just over five years. Programs are currently operating in several communities including Haliburton, Kincardine, Orangeville, Owen Sound, Saugeen Shores and Wiarton.

“This partnership really made sense for so many reasons,” said Kristie Virgoe, director of stewardship and conservation lands for Kawartha Conservation. “Ken Reid is always a popular destination for families and children and the camps we have offered here in the past have always been popular and well received. Our hope and goal for our education program has always been to provide young people with a wonderful, fully immersive outdoor experience.

At Last Forest School provides that experience for camp participants and their families, Virgoe noted.

“Continuing to offer summer camp programs in the Ken Reid Conservation Area supports both the local community and families with young children, while continuing to hope to provide the best possible experience for visitors,” concluded Virgo.

Parents interested in learning more or enrolling their children in summer camp can visit At Last Forest Schools online at or email